A campaign launched to help out the owner of Saltcity, a popular indy surf shop in Exeter has managed to raise five grand in just nine days.
The campaign kicked off after the owner of the last surf shop in Exeter, Richard Monk, announced on Facebook that he was going to be forced to sell his Saltcity van due to financial problems.
An army of fans quickly leaped to Richard’s rescue, raising £500 in just two days, and the figure has continued to rise from there.
The fund will go towards the shop getting a new website, as well as updating the shops tech and paying off some of its ever mounting bills.
“After struggling for eight years it’s just nice to wake up past 4am. Before as soon as I woke up my brain would start working and I’d be thinking, who am I going to pay today? To have debt at the back of your mind is a heavy one.
“I’m not a greedy person; I just want to have a normal life such as being able to go out for a meal now and again and to go on holiday once a year.”
Despite being open for such a long time, Richard says the shop never bounced back after the 2008 financial crisis, admitting that he owes massive credit card bills, and that his business account is 22k in arrears.
As a further mark of support, have been helping promote the shop by photographing its carrier bag in various locations and posting the images to social media.
The bags, which are very distinguishable and bright yellow, have been seen as far away as Aus, India and The USA.
“It all began as a flippant comment I made on Facebook about the 5p plastic bag charge that had come in force and I said if anybody wanted a to parade around Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s with one of my bags they could come and grab one.” Richard explained
“Then because I play scrabble with people from all over the world on Facebook, a friend in Canada asked to have one. When she got it, she posted a pic of it on Facebook and then friends Texas, Australia, New Zealand and France did the same.
“People started to enjoy seeing where the bags were going and started popping into the shop and asking for a bag as they were off on holiday.
“All over the summer Saltcity carrier bags, stickers and t-shirts were popping up all the world.”
“My personal favourites are a carrier bag outside the Taj Mahal, and a sticker stuck on top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Even Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has popped in for one. It has gone bonkers and has definitely helped get the shop lots of recognition which is vital for an independent business.”
We wish Richard all the best of luck in his fundraising campaign, as we know how important, small independent core surf companies are in the industry.